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David Oyelowo’s ‘The Black 22s’ Gets Pilot Order From National Geographic

Series tells true story of first all-black police squad in U.S.

National Geographic Channel has ordered a pilot script for “The Black 22s” from executive producer David Oyelowo, the network announced Tuesday.

The series will tell the true story of an African-American detective and the first all-black police squad in the U.S., in St. Louis, Missouri. Battling the gangland killers of Prohibition and set up to fail by their own bosses, they fought for justice during one of the most racially charged times in history.

The story will be executive produced by two-time Golden Globe nominee Oyelowo, Paul Guyot, John Rogers, Jennifer Court and Bharat Nalluri, who is also attached as director. Paul Guyot will pen the pilot script and serve as showrunner for the series.

The announcement was made today by the network’s new executive vice president of global scripted programming and production, Carolyn Bernstein. It is the first in a series of scripted announcements expected between now and the network’s upfront, scheduled for March 15.

“This pitch gave me goosebumps from beginning to end. It is a moving, muscular and resonant story that perfectly exemplifies the adage that truth is stranger and more compelling than fiction,” Bernstein said. “It also represents the kind of timely and provocative storytelling that I hope will become a hallmark of Nat Geo’s new scripted initiative.”

“Our goal is to serve up a kinetic and vibrant show that displays the excitement and energy of America in the 1920s, with a cinematic punch,” said Oyelowo. “‘The Black 22s’ is the black ‘Untouchables.'”